Q But you don’t think there should be a specific call to action — I mean, this is — you’ve described this as a economic crisis like nothing we have seen since the Great Depression.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I said, the American people are making a host of sacrifices in their individual lives. We are going through an extraordinary crisis, but we believe that taken — if you take the steps that we’ve already taken with respect to housing, with respect to small businesses, if you look at what we’re doing in terms of increasing liquidity in the financial system, that the steps that we’re taking can actually stabilize the economy and get it moving again.
What I’m looking from the American people to do is that they are going to be doing what they’ve always done, which is working hard, looking after their families, making sure that despite the economic hard times, that they’re still contributing to their community, that they’re still participating in volunteer activities, that they are paying attention to the debates that are going on in Washington; and the budgets that we’re putting forward and some of the decisions that we’re having to make are going to be tough decisions and we’re going to need the support of the American people. And that’s part of why — what I’ve tried to do is to be out front as much as possible explaining in very clear terms exactly what we’re doing.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Right now on Capitol Hill Senate Democrats are writing a budget and, according to press accounts and their own statements, they’re not including the middle-class tax cut that you include in the stimulus; they’re talking about phasing that out. They’re not including the cap and trade that you have in your budget, and they’re not including other measures. I know when you outlined your four priorities over the weekend, a number of these things were not in there. Will you sign a budget if it does not contain a middle-class tax cut, does not contain cap and trade?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve emphasized repeatedly what I expect out of this budget. I expect that there’s serious efforts at health care reform and that we are driving down costs for families and businesses and ultimately for the federal and state governments that are going to be broke if we continue on the current path. I’ve said that we’ve got to have a serious energy policy that frees ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy. We’ve got to invest in education, K-12 and beyond, to upgrade the skills of the American worker so we can compete in the international economy. And I’ve said that we’ve got to start driving our deficit numbers down.
Now, we never expected when we printed out our budget that they would simply Xerox it and vote on it. We assume that it has to go through the legislative process. I have not yet seen the final product coming out of the Senate or the House and we’re in constant conversations with them. I am confident that the budget we put forward will have those principles in place.